When the state legislature reconvenes next year, Senate President Peter Bragdon says the Senate will be focused on jobs and the economy. The House has, um, other priorities.
“I think we want to continue with what we worked on: jobs, the economy, taxes and spending.” Bragdon said at a lunch with State House reporters this week.
The House is expected to begin with a bill to repeal the state’s gay marriage law; a constitutional amendment to prohibit an income tax; a bill to expand the capital murder sentencing option to include any murder, not just those in which the victim was a judicial or law enforcement official; and a bill to expand gambling with video slot machines.
At a time when most politicians are focused on creating jobs and avoiding a recession, Rep. Frank Guinta today called for more layoffs in the federal workforce.
U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta, R-Manchester, today called for cutting the number of federal workers to save money.
Government workers “take money out of the private sector,” Guinta said during a forum at the RiverWoods senior citizen community this afternoon. About 50 seniors were in attendance.
Guinta … argued there should be a spending/hiring freeze for all government departments.
32 years ago, facing gas lines and a dispirited nation, President Jimmy Carter gave an important speech that became known as the Malaise Speech. In it, he described the energy crisis as a symptom of a larger “fundamental threat to American democracy.”
The threat is nearly invisible in ordinary ways. It is a crisis of confidence. It is a crisis that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will. We can see this crisis in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our nation.
In an opinion piece for Patch, Rep. Frank Guinta describes his constituents’ state of mind in terms that are eerily reminiscent of that speech.
People tell me they remain worried about the slow pace of job creation. … People tell me they’re concerned by the recent volatility and wild swings in the financial markets. … Others tell me they’re frustrated by the partisan sniping that has paralyzed Washington and is delaying meaningful change and reform.
Add up all the anxiety, frustration and uncertainty, and Granite Staters are on edge. It’s making some people angry; in others, it’s causing despair.
That is where the similarities end.
Carter then presented a six-point plan to reduce dependence on foreign oil and challenged Americans to reject a “mistaken idea of freedom” involving “constant conflict between narrow interests.” He asked us to embrace a solution embodying “common purpose and the restoration of American values.”
In contrast, Guinta sidesteps any serious proposal to jump-start the sputtering economy or to revive our spirits. Instead, he offers the same tired exhortation to “put our fiscal house in order” by adopting a Balanced Budget Amendment, reducing regulation and reforming taxes. “This is not a time for despair,” he says unconvincingly.
One of the most frequently heard GOP talking points is that the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act failed to create jobs or accelerate economic growth. They’re wrong — demonstrably wrong.
Previously I wrote that economic experts agree that the stimulus spending created around 3 million jobs. That unemployment remains high is beside the point. As Ezra Klein memorably explained, “The fact that a starving man is still hungry after eating a burger doesn’t mean the burger did a bad job.”
Last week’s revised GDP numbers provide additional proof that the stimulus spending was successful at pulling us out of the Great Recession. Moody’s chief economist Mark Zandi and Dean Baker, an economist at the Center on Economic and Policy Research, analyzed the data.
“We went from negative to positive [economic growth] at precisely the time that the stimulus was providing maximum benefit in terms of tax cuts and spending increases,” Zandi says. “The numbers actually reinforce the importance of the stimulus in jump-starting a recovery.” …
Of course, the stimulus only lasted two years, winding down in the end of 2010. And what happened then? … The stimulus wound down, that extra government spending started disappearing, and, with it, economic growth dwindled.
If our political system were in any way sane, elected leaders would look at these numbers and conclude that the economy desperately needs a boost. Job creation should be the first, and arguably only, priority on the minds of policymakers. Instead, the only topic of discussion allowed in Washington is about debt reduction — which takes money out of the economy and makes unemployment worse.
— Steve Benen, on last month’s jobs report
Speaker Bill O’Brien claims the GOP’s 2012-2013 state budget will “help our economy grow and create jobs.” Not so, says Michael Leachman, Senior Policy Analyst with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Leachman explains why the budget, which relies on substantial cuts to services, “will slow the economic recovery and undermine efforts to create jobs.”
Cutting state services not only hurts vulnerable residents but also slows the economy’s recovery by reducing overall economic activity. When states cut spending, they lay off employees, cancel contracts with vendors, reduce payments to businesses and nonprofits that provide services, and cut benefit payments to individuals. All of these steps remove demand from the economy.
Moreover, many of the services that states are cutting are important to states’ long-term economic strength. For instance, research shows that in order to prosper, businesses need a well-educated, healthy workforce. Many of the budget cuts described here will weaken that workforce by diminishing the quality of elementary and high schools, making college less affordable, and reducing residents’ access to health care. That, in turn, could slow the state’s economic growth over the long term.
GOP consultant Mike Murphy looks at the numbers for 2012 and identifies the fundamental challenge for each party.
The race is close because next year both Obama and the Republican nominee are likely to be skating on wafer-thin ice. For while the weak economy is one huge force driving these numbers, there is a second force in play that could be equally unsettling. The 2012 election is shaping up as a battle between economics and demographics. The economy is threatening to end the President’s political career. The demographics of a changing America might just re-elect him.
So who wins next year? In the long term, bet on demographics. The GOP must shed its nativism and attract more Latinos, or the Electoral College math becomes prohibitive. In the short term, if financial conditions don’t improve soon, bet on economics. High unemployment next year will be a firing offense for Obama.
This plan isn’t optimistic. It isn’t a bit vague. It’s a joke. And I don’t know which is worse: The thought that Pawlenty knows that and went forward with this pandering, fantasy-based proposal anyway, or the thought that he doesn’t know it, and he really thinks this could work.
— Ezra Klein, on Tim Pawlenty’s economic plan
EBay looked at personal income, unemployment rates, and crime rates for all 50 states and declared New Hampshire is “the most economically buoyant state in the Union.”
Speaker Bill O’Brien wants to change all that. He has promised to put at end to “the policies and practices of the past that have failed our citizens.”
Mark Zandi, Chief Economist for Moody’s Analytics and former economic adviser to John McCain’s presidential campaign, warns the spending cuts proposed by House Republicans will cost 700,000 jobs by the end of 2012.
If fully adopted, the cuts would shave almost half a percentage point from real GDP growth in 2011 and another 0.2 percentage point in 2012. There would be almost 400,000 fewer U.S. jobs by the end of 2011 than without the cuts and some 700,000 fewer jobs by the end of 2012.
This comes on the heels of a Goldman Sachs report estimating that the House proposal would cut economic growth by about two percent of GDP.
Former state senator Mark Fernald explains New Hampshire’s budget shortfall is due to a huge drop in revenue rather than runaway spending. Fernald points out tax revenue dropped more than 9 percent in 2009 and has yet to recover —while state spending per capita remains fifth-lowest in the nation.
In the past, the Legislature would have tinkered with state taxes to maintain state services. Not this Legislature.
The majority party adheres to an ideology that no part of government is so important as to justify any change in our revenue structure. If revenues do not meet needs, then needs will not be met.
After mass murder by a mentally ill man in Tucson, will our Legislature cut funding for community mental health centers? Will it throw children out of day care centers and take away their health care? Will it cut state aid to schools and municipalities, solving the state’s fiscal problem on the backs of property taxpayers? Will state troopers be laid off?
The answer to all of these questions may be yes, because we have a Legislature that was elected with the belief that state spending is out of control, even though all evidence is to the contrary.
“What a difference two years makes.” The Atlantic diagrams the changes wrought by the Great Recession on our lives and our politics.
Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, nearly every state faces a budget shortfall, and hundreds of banks have shut their doors. The young are unemployed, living at home, and playing video games. The ranks of third-party candidates have swollen, militias have proliferated, and national leaders of both parties have seen their support decline.
Click the image above to view the full chart.